Doug Kretchmer

Doug Kretchmer

North End community correspondent

Doug Kretchmer is a freelance writer, artist and community correspondent for The Times. Email him at quidamphotography@gmail.com
Twitter: @DougKretchmer

Recent articles of Doug Kretchmer

What’s not “to love” about sakihiwe festival?

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What’s not “to love” about sakihiwe festival?

Doug Kretchmer 3 minute read Wednesday, Jul. 6, 2022

The sākihiwē festival, which began as Aboriginal Music Week in 2009, made a smashing return this year after being cancelled for two years, owing to the pandemic. Its name, sākihiwē, which means “to love” in Cree, came from Spruce Woods sundance chief David Blacksmith during a ceremony on Feb. 21, 2018. What a beautiful sentiment.

The festival this year took place from June 23 to 26 and included four free block parties and two ticketed shows, including a kickoff party at the Pyramid Cabaret and the Grand Entry show at the Beer Can the following night. The block parties were held on June 25 and 26 at Central Park, outside at the Turtle Island Neighbourhood Centre, on Ellice Avenue and on Selkirk Avenue. Overall, 26 performers from across Canada took part in this years festival.

One of the nice aspects of the festival is that it doesn’t accept funding from energy or resource development entities, predatory lenders, alcohol or marijuana brands, gambling entities, or financial institutions that invest in pipelines. I remember the public outcry over the Jazz Festival in Vancouver when its main corporate sponsor was a tobacco company in the 1990s.

I had the good fortune to attend the two North End block parties as well as the Ellice Avenue block party. Hundreds of people showed up for musical performances, a pow wow and a hoop dance. A big hit at all of the block parties included a free barbecue. There was also face painting for the kids. I encountered many children whose faces were painted like cats and butterflies.

Wednesday, Jul. 6, 2022

Gator Beaulieu performed on June 25 at the Selkirk Avenue block party.

Collectibles shows a trove of hidden treasures

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Collectibles shows a trove of hidden treasures

Doug Kretchmer 3 minute read Wednesday, May. 25, 2022

The collecting bug began for me in my youth, when I collected stamps, coins, comics, Mad magazines and hockey cards. In my teens I started collecting records, which led to collecting CDs and music memorabilia. I remember thinking of these treasures as my RRSPs: “Hang on to these items and they’ll be worth something some day.”

Turns out I was right.

When I lived in Vancouver in the ’90s I went to a lot of record shows where people were selling their music collectibles. Eventually I began renting tables and selling and trading pieces from my collection. It was safer behind the table, as going to the shows as a buyer became very costly (but always fun). When I moved back to Winnipeg in 2001, I started selling music collectibles at Rockin’ Richard’s Record Show which took place every spring and fall. Unfortunately, Richard passed away a few years ago and the shows stopped. A few collectors tried to fill the void, and then the pandemic hit and everything shut down.

Now that things are beginning to reopen, more shows are popping up. Most have been collectibles shows, featuring antiques, comics, old toys, action figures, records and music memorabilia. On July 3 there will be a record show at Centro Cabot Centre (1055 Wilkes Ave.) in honour of Rockin’ Richard Sturz.

Wednesday, May. 25, 2022

The second annual Winnipeg Collectibles Show was held April 24 at Canad Inns Garden City.

Nomadic Designs infused with determination

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Nomadic Designs infused with determination

Doug Kretchmer 2 minute read Wednesday, Apr. 13, 2022

Mike Liambas played professional hockey in the NHL and AHL for 12 seasons until an injury in the 2018-19 season forced him into retirement, Mike Liambas returned to his other passion in life, woodworking.

During hockey off-seasons Mike would often immerse himself, as a hobby, in creating and designing custom wood products such as furniture and household accessories.

His hobby became more serious in 2016, while Mike was visiting his mother in Toronto. She showed him a picture of a wood-framed mirror she wanted to buy and he took it upon himself to make the mirror for her. That was when the seed for Nomadic Designs was planted. Soon he was designing and building wood furniture friends and family, taking a name inspired by his years as a hockey player, travelling like a nomad from city to city.

Mike and his cousin, Brent Morden, worked in a warehouse on Dufferin Avenue a few years ago with a few other woodworkers and cabinet makers. In July 2021, the cousins set up their own shop in the same warehouse, and called it Nomadic Designs.

Wednesday, Apr. 13, 2022

Cousins Brent Morden (left) and Mike Liambas are the driving forces behind Nomadic Designs.

Indigenous woman fulfills lifetime dream

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Indigenous woman fulfills lifetime dream

Doug Kretchmer 3 minute read Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022

A couple of years ago I met an Indigenous woman, Geraldine Yvonne McManus, who was moving into a North End building. She was beaming. She told me that after years of searching she had finally found the ideal location to set up her silk-screen studio to produce her clothing line, AB-Original Wear.

Geraldine, of Dakota descent, related how she loved drawing as a child. Her mother would lay out the funny pages on the table and she and her six siblings would then choose a character and draw them.

The best one would win a prize with consolation prizes for all the others. Her mother was her greatest inspiration and always told her, “If you can’t get up in the morning and do something you enjoy, maybe it’s not something you should be doing.”

Sadly, Geraldine lost her mother to cancer when Geraldine was just 15. Her best friend and inspiration was no longer there for her. The close-knit family separated soon after. Geraldine, who had worked a summer job since she was 12, didn’t want to be placed in foster care so she went to court to have herself declared an adult, which the judge granted.

Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2022

Photo by Doug Kretchmer
Geraldine Yvonne McManus is pictured at work in the studio of AB-Original Wear.

A lesson in back lane etiquette

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A lesson in back lane etiquette

Doug Kretchmer 3 minute read Friday, Nov. 19, 2021

I just don’t understand some drivers out there. You’re driving down a back lane, you come to the end of the lane wanting to cross but cars are blocking the laneway because they’re stopped at the red light to your right. Surely these drivers saw the red light before blocking the lane, especially when there’s a good chance that they saw vehicles waiting at the laneway. Or maybe they didn’t.

When you drive in traffic it is a good idea to be aware of other drivers as well as your surroundings.

Whether there was a car at the laneway or not, it’s not very smart to block the lane. What if an emergency vehicle had to turn down the lane?

Those precious seconds or minutes it takes to clear the lane could be a matter of life or death. It wouldn’t be a very good feeling if you found out that your inconsiderate actions resulted in someone’s death. It seems that some drivers don’t seem to think about scenarios like this.

Friday, Nov. 19, 2021

Photo by Doug Kretchmer
Woe betide the driver who blocks a back lane because of a traffic signal when correspondent Doug Kretchmer is around.

Indigenous group defends the vulnerable

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Indigenous group defends the vulnerable

Doug Kretchmer 3 minute read Friday, Oct. 22, 2021

Around four years ago with the events of Standing Rock and the memory of Tina Fontaine’s disappearance and discovery of her body still fresh in their minds, a group of Winnipeg Indigenous people decided to form a sort of watchdog group to patrol the streets of Winnipeg.

Their focus was set mostly on the North End as well as Central Winnipeg and the West End, areas where many Indigenous people live. Membership has been roughly 12 to 20 warriors over the years and the founders were soon joined by others interested in their cause, including Trey Delaronde, with whom I recently chatted.

Trey, 26, is of Anishinabe descent and told me that his reasons for getting involved were to not only create awareness of injustices to Indigenous peoples but also to help the people who were victims of sex trafficking and drug addiction.

He also wanted to let people know that, unlike the image portrayed of Indigenous people over the years, “not all Indigenous people are drunks and drug addicts, many are professionals such as military, politicians and journalists as well as powwow singers and dancers.” 

Friday, Oct. 22, 2021

Photo by Doug Kretchmer
Colin Nabess (left) and Trey Delaronde are part of the First Nation Indigenous Warriors watchdog group.

CaRaVaN open mic celebrates 10th anniversary

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CaRaVaN open mic celebrates 10th anniversary

Doug Kretchmer 2 minute read Friday, Sep. 24, 2021

Many open mic nights have come and gone over the years, but CaRaVaN has been going strong for a decade now, although its venue has changed more than a few times over the years,

Some folks have been involved since its inception. Paul Little has been one of the mainstays acting as host, soundman and even as a performer singing original songs while playing keyboards.

CaRaVaN began in the Frame Arts Warehouse on Ross Avenue shortly after Ali Tataryn opened the space in September, 2011.

Paul dubbed it The Purple Room and when Ali left, Paul, Matty (Rage’_Nelson, and Ronel (Squigs) Amata took over and took turns each week hosting the open mic.

Friday, Sep. 24, 2021

Photo by Doug Kretchmer
Tanis, who also guest hosts, performs an original tune at CaRaVaN.

A walk for the children

Doug Kretchmer - Community Correspondent 3 minute read Preview

A walk for the children

Doug Kretchmer - Community Correspondent 3 minute read Friday, Sep. 3, 2021

Did you ever have a dream that was so vivid that it stuck in your mind for a long time?

A dream that didn’t seem to make sense at all?

Jasmine Lavaliere, a 38-year-old North End resident, had a dream like that 20 years ago and it was only recently after reading the news about the unmarked graves found near the site of an old residential school that she started to understand the dream.

In her dream she was in an old building looking out a window and felt like she was the last person left on earth. Feeling desolate, she looked out the window and saw a white person and an Indigenous person fighting. Even though they were fighting she was happy to see someone.

Friday, Sep. 3, 2021

Photo by Doug Kretchmer
Jasmine Lavaliere’s cross-country walk in memory of children found buried on residential school sites started Sept. 1.

Return of live music is most welcome

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Return of live music is most welcome

Doug Kretchmer - Community Correspondent 3 minute read Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021

With things opening up more in Winnipeg, patio parties seem to be a major trend as people are feeling a little safer gathering outside.

In one day recently I attended a festival — St-Bonifest at Coronation Park — and saw live music at le Patio 340 at the Franco-Manitoban Cultural Centre. Kind of like the good ol’ days before the pandemic.

I spoke with many people who were so glad to be able to actually talk face-to-face with others and enjoy live music together.

At le Patio, a young couple, Kelsey and Austin, who were seated next to me and a friend, said they just happened to be driving by when they noticed “actual live music on a stage,” as Austin said, and “just had to check it out.”

Thursday, Aug. 19, 2021

Photo by Doug Kretchmer
Attendees enjoy the entertainment at St-Bonifest in Coronation Park on July 20.

Food bank workers enjoy giving back

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Food bank workers enjoy giving back

Doug Kretchmer - Community Correspondent 3 minute read Friday, Jul. 9, 2021

The Bear Clan Patrol’s food bank at 563 Selkirk Ave. has only been open for just over a year but it helps feed an average of 200 people a day; a slow day sees about 130 to 150 people.

I recently spoke with Donavan Peloquin who got involved as a volunteer with the Bear Clan Patrol shortly after moving to Winnipeg from Val d’Or, Que. After four months he was hired as a ‘den helper’ for the food bank and says it gives him “great pleasure to see the appreciation of the recipients of the food” he hands out daily.

The day I spoke with Donavan I saw the joy on the face of a mother’s young daughter who received a special treat of a freezie on a hot day.

Working six to eight hours a day, five days a week, Donavan is part of a crew of between three and five den helpers whose day usually starts around 9 a.m. when they collect donated food in two of the Bear Clan vans. The donations come from various grocery stores in town.

Friday, Jul. 9, 2021

Photo by Doug Kretchmer
(From left) Christina Coelho, Donavan Peloquin and Holly work at the Bear Clan Patrol’s food bank at 563 Selkirk Ave.

Music the way it was meant to be heard

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Music the way it was meant to be heard

Doug Kretchmer - Community Correspondent 3 minute read Monday, Jun. 7, 2021

I grew up in an era when home stereo systems consisted of several components including an amplifier, turntable, cassette deck, tuner, and speakers, which seemed to get larger and more powerful every year.

Over the years and with the advent of boom boxes, stereo systems seemed to get smaller and smaller. Even the listening media got smaller as well, from LP records and eight-track tapes to cassettes to CD to digital media on computers and smartphones.

I consider myself an audiophile, taking great pride in my stereo system and music collection.

Although records take up space, I still enjoy the sound of vinyl. It was quite refreshing, then, to come across the Yamborko brothers, Leonid, 40, and Viktor, 37, in a North End warehouse where they have set up two listening rooms. One of the rooms is for the home-theatre listening experience (with up to 17 speakers in one system) while the other room is for the dedicated music enthusiast.

Monday, Jun. 7, 2021

Photo by Doug Kretchmer
Altitudo Audio is a company run by two brothers from Ukraine who create custom stereo and home-theatre systems for audiophiles.

The high cost of free medical care

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The high cost of free medical care

Doug Kretchmer - Community Correspondent 3 minute read Thursday, May. 27, 2021

When I lived in Vancouver in the 1990s and applied for a Medical Services Plan card, I was surprised to find out that health care wasn’t free. There were different levels of payment for a health-care card, based on income. Having lived in Manitoba prior, it came as quite the shock.

I believe that affordable medical care should be a right of all citizens everywhere. When Michael Moore’s documentary Sicko came out comparing health care in Canada, the U.S., England and Cuba, I was shocked once again. Nearly 75 per cent of all bankruptcies in the U.S. were a result of a family medical emergency.

Now this didn’t seem fair at all. You work hard all of your life, start a family, buy a house, then your child ends up in hospital and, if you don’t have medical insurance, you end up going bankrupt. Not to mention the high cost of prescription drugs, unless you live in Cuba, where, according to Sicko, prescription drugs were much cheaper.

Now the thing about getting anything free is that people will take advantage. With all the talk over the years of our overburdened medical system here in Canada, even more so now during this pandemic, I was quite surprised, once again, when a friend of mine who works in the emergency (now urgent care) intake of a hospital told me how many people would come in for very minor things. And people wonder why our health-care system is overburdened. If people had to pay out of their own pockets, I think those numbers of essentially non-urgent health-care visits would go down significantly.

Thursday, May. 27, 2021

Photo by Doug Kretchmer
Pandemic vaccinations and other medical treatments have correspondent Doug Kretchmer wondering about the actual cost of health care.

Unique surplus store opens at Dufferin Mall

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Unique surplus store opens at Dufferin Mall

Doug Kretchmer - Community Correspondent 3 minute read Friday, Apr. 16, 2021

I’m a sucker for thrift stores and second-hand stores. There’s something about the thrill of finding something new (old and used in this case) and interesting in these places. You never know what you’ll find.

I was quite thrilled to find a new one on my daily walk recently not far from where I live. (One of my New Year’s resolution was to walk briskly non-stop for at least an hour a day.)

My curiosity got the better of me and I just had to check it out. It seems like these places have a magnetic pull on me.

The Dufferin Surplus store opened up in January of this year at that very unique building called The Dufferin Mall at the corner of Andrews Street and Dufferin Avenue.

Friday, Apr. 16, 2021

Photo by Doug Kretchmer
The Dufferin Surplus Store is a new treasure trove in the North End.

One person’s garbage is another one’s treasure

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One person’s garbage is another one’s treasure

Doug Kretchmer - Community Correspondent 3 minute read Saturday, Mar. 13, 2021

Did you ever wonder what these people with shopping carts filled with scrap metal do with that metal?

Well, they’re apparently cashing it in at scrap yards for cold hard cash. Kind of reminds me of when I lived in Vancouver and people would collect beer cans and other drinking vessels for refunds. How does the old saying go … one person’s garbage is another person’s treasure. 

I also used to wonder why I’d see so many discarded TVs with holes in the back. People would remove the copper from the back of the tube and turn that in for cash as well.

Living in the North End, I’ve seen people with shopping carts and bicycles with trailers collecting metal and I’ve also seen trucks picking up everything from water heaters to futon frames and anything else made of metal.

Saturday, Mar. 13, 2021

Photo by Doug Kretchmer
People selling scrap metal help keep that material out of landfills.

Looney Tunes snow structures brighten street

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Looney Tunes snow structures brighten street

Doug Kretchmer - Community Correspondent 3 minute read Friday, Feb. 12, 2021

Who says snow can’t be fun? As a kid, winter time can be a fun time of year: sledding, skating, snowshoeing, building snowmen.

At 56, Leigh Keist may be a grown man but he still loves playing in the snow building snowmen … or, um … snow toons. Leigh has been decorating his front yard and boulevard at 1035 Aberdeen Ave. with snow creations for the past five years. Prior to moving to this home, he adorned the front of his Leila Avenue house with his wonderful snow creations, which he said he perfected over the last five or so winters that he lived there.

Leigh explained to me that he doesn’t sculpt his works but moulds them.

“It’s a process,” he explained. He uses wood-frame structures, then moulds the snow around them, adding water to turn them into ice.

Friday, Feb. 12, 2021

Photo by Doug Kretchmer
Leigh Keist shows off some of the snow creations in front of his home on Aberdeen Street.

Get off the couch and go skating

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Get off the couch and go skating

Doug Kretchmer - Community Correspondent 3 minute read Friday, Jan. 15, 2021

Fourteen years ago my sister, who moved to Toronto in 1986, came home for Christmas.

She brought her 10-year-old son, Karl, who, like myself at that age, was into hockey and skating. I had watched some of his hockey games when I visited Toronto over the years. When he heard about the skating rink at The Forks, he got excited and asked if his Uncle Doug would take him skating there.

I kind of panicked, as I hadn’t been on skates in about 30 years. It was a lot farther to fall down onto the ice as a grown man. I could hurt myself.

“Sure,” I said, reluctantly, hiding my fear.

Friday, Jan. 15, 2021

Photo by Doug Kretchmer
Juliana and her dog Harley enjoy some quality ice-time at the Rink Under the Canopy at The Forks.

Drive-in church services essential to some

Doug Kretchmer - Community Correspondent 3 minute read Preview

Drive-in church services essential to some

Doug Kretchmer - Community Correspondent 3 minute read Monday, Dec. 21, 2020

After defying public health orders and holding drive-in church services which earned it two fines, Springs Church and others were allowed to go ahead on Dec. 11, albeit with a few restrictions, such as not getting out of your car and keeping your windows rolled up.

So, when I decided to take in one of these services, I made sure I went to the washroom before I left home.

The snow was blowing hard as I headed out to the Springs Church on Lagimodiere Boulevard on Dec. 13 for one of three services that morning. As I entered the parking lot I was greeted by a young woman who was one of the many volunteers guiding traffic toward the big video screen. More volunteers in reflective vests and flags showed the drivers where to park. By the time the service started, it had stopped snowing.

After tuning my car radio to a specific frequency, the approximately one-hour service began with Pastor Leon welcoming everyone from a covered, gazebo-like shelter shown on the big screen. He also claimed that church is an essential service.

Monday, Dec. 21, 2020

After defying public health orders and holding drive-in church services which earned it two fines, Springs Church and others were allowed to go ahead on Dec. 11, albeit with a few restrictions, such as not getting out of your car and keeping your windows rolled up.

So, when I decided to take in one of these services, I made sure I went to the washroom before I left home.

The snow was blowing hard as I headed out to the Springs Church on Lagimodiere Boulevard on Dec. 13 for one of three services that morning. As I entered the parking lot I was greeted by a young woman who was one of the many volunteers guiding traffic toward the big video screen. More volunteers in reflective vests and flags showed the drivers where to park. By the time the service started, it had stopped snowing.

After tuning my car radio to a specific frequency, the approximately one-hour service began with Pastor Leon welcoming everyone from a covered, gazebo-like shelter shown on the big screen. He also claimed that church is an essential service.

Distortions, hoaxes and ‘fake news’

Doug Kretchmer - Community Correspondent 3 minute read Preview

Distortions, hoaxes and ‘fake news’

Doug Kretchmer - Community Correspondent 3 minute read Monday, Nov. 23, 2020

The term ‘fake news’ has popped up quite a bit over the years and with social media’s expanding influence, it’s kind of hard to verify some stories out there. In one of the journalism courses I’ve taken over the years, I was shocked to hear that 75 per cent of people get their news from Facebook … yikes.

In itself, that was startling news to me.

I flash back now to the Send + Receive festival in Winnipeg in 2005. Mark Hosler of the band Negativland related a story about how his bandmate Richard Lyons had issued a press release in 1988 about how the band wasn’t able to tour that year as 16-year-old David Brom of Rochester, Minn., had killed his family with an axe after an argument with his father over Negativland’s song Christianity is Stupid.

The story was picked up by major news stations everywhere. The band members were contacted but told the media that because of legalities, they weren’t able to speak about it. A few months later, the band came clean and said it was all a hoax.

Monday, Nov. 23, 2020

Supplied photo
Since so many people rely on social media for news, people should regularly double-check sources and facts.

Reflections on crime and punishment

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Reflections on crime and punishment

Doug Kretchmer - Community Correspondent 3 minute read Monday, Oct. 26, 2020

I recently came across a show about a notorious jail in New York … Rikers Island.

Some prisoners were interviewed and, although the prison is supposed to be one of the most dangerous in the U.S., some of them claimed that prison life was better for them than out on the streets … three square meals a day, a roof over their heads, a routine.

I couldn’t believe my ears, but the program reminded me of similar discussions I’ve had with people.

I’ve talked with many people over the years (including prison guards and police) in Winnipeg about crime and punishment and some people have echoed the same sentiments … that some people actually do have better living conditions in jail or prison than on the streets. Some have even mentioned that some people (I don’t want to label them all as criminals because some are victims of circumstance) will commit a crime and if they get away with it and profit off it, their living conditions improve; and if they get caught and sentenced to jail … well, their living conditions improve, as well.

Monday, Oct. 26, 2020

I recently came across a show about a notorious jail in New York … Rikers Island.

Some prisoners were interviewed and, although the prison is supposed to be one of the most dangerous in the U.S., some of them claimed that prison life was better for them than out on the streets … three square meals a day, a roof over their heads, a routine.

I couldn’t believe my ears, but the program reminded me of similar discussions I’ve had with people.

I’ve talked with many people over the years (including prison guards and police) in Winnipeg about crime and punishment and some people have echoed the same sentiments … that some people actually do have better living conditions in jail or prison than on the streets. Some have even mentioned that some people (I don’t want to label them all as criminals because some are victims of circumstance) will commit a crime and if they get away with it and profit off it, their living conditions improve; and if they get caught and sentenced to jail … well, their living conditions improve, as well.

Sampling the ‘new normal’ for concerts

Doug Kretchmer - Community Correspondent 3 minute read Preview

Sampling the ‘new normal’ for concerts

Doug Kretchmer - Community Correspondent 3 minute read Friday, Oct. 9, 2020

As a lover of concerts and music festivals, 2020 looked very grim when many festivals and concerts were cancelled this year. The big one for me has always been the Winnipeg Folk Festival and, unfortunately, it was cancelled this year.

However, when shutdown restrictions loosened up a bit, some festival organizers tried to keep their festivals alive. One such festival was the Whoop and Hollar Festival in Portage la Prairie.

Festival co-ordinator and co-founder Linda Omichinski and a team of volunteers, have worked hard over the years to make this festival happen. This year’s was the eighth-annual Whoop and Hollar and organizers and crew were determined to make it happen. Changes had to be made… big changes.

First of all, the event was held at the Portage Exhibition Fairground instead of on their property just outside Portage. Previous festivals have included camping and vendors… neither happened this year.

Friday, Oct. 9, 2020

Photo by Doug Kretchmer
A family enjoys the eighth annual Whoop and Hollar Festival in their drive-in ‘pod’ at the Portage Exhibition Fairground.

Police body cams a good idea

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Police body cams a good idea

Doug Kretchmer - Community Correspondent 3 minute read Monday, Aug. 31, 2020

“Careful guys … Camera.” On two occasions within the span of a week in the early 2000s, I heard the Winnipeg police utter these words as I came across a group of officers arresting two people.

It seemed like they were using a lot of force to restrain the suspects. The second time I was confronted by an officer who told me to “Turn off the camera now!”

I refused, as I knew my rights as a journalist. Next thing you know I was on the ground on top of my bicycle with the officer holding my camera that he yanked out of my hand.

I was quite outraged. The officer said that he did it, “For my safety.” It is perfectly legal to videotape or photograph the police as long as you don’t get in their way (which I didn’t).

Monday, Aug. 31, 2020

Photo by Doug Kretchmer
In his travels, community correspondent Doug Kretchmer says he has witnessed moments where video evidence provides crucial insight into police behaviour.

Learning a harsh lesson about smoking

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Learning a harsh lesson about smoking

Doug Kretchmer - Community Correspondent 3 minute read Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020

They say smart people learn from their own mistakes, wise people learn from others’ mistakes and fools never learn.

Let’s face it, we all make mistakes in our lives. One of mine was trying cigarettes. Actually, I tried cigars at 10 years old. A friend and I came across some cigars and were caught smoking them by my friend’s father.

“What are you guys smoking?” he exclaimed as he opened the back door.

To teach us a lesson, Craig’s dad made us light them up so he could watch us smoke. As I reached the end of mine and was about to put it out, his father wouldn’t let me, saying, “come on, finish it, that’s the best part, that’s where you turn green.” 

Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2020

Dreamstime.com
Realizing how addictive cigarettes are was enough to convince correspondent Doug Kretchmer to stop.

Hope for the future

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Hope for the future

Doug Kretchmer - Community Correspondent 3 minute read Tuesday, Jul. 7, 2020

As a journalist I was invited to a media event at the Canadian Museum for Human Rights before it opened up to the public.

Media from all over the world were there. A few of the exhibits were set up, including one which featured a red prom dress. This dress was worn by 19-year-old Mariesha Ruckus at the first integrated (black and white) high school prom in Montgomery, Ga. The date on the information card said 2013 …

“Hmm,” I thought. “That must be a typo. 2013 can’t be right.”

I asked the tour guide, who said “No, the date is correct.”

Tuesday, Jul. 7, 2020

Photo by Doug Kretchmer
The Justice 4 Black Lives rally at the Manitoba Legislature on June 5 drew an estimated 15,000 people.

Building break-in was unsettling, frightening

Doug Kretchmer - Community Correspondent 3 minute read Preview

Building break-in was unsettling, frightening

Doug Kretchmer - Community Correspondent 3 minute read Monday, Jun. 8, 2020

I had a terrifying situation last month. Sitting in my suite shortly after 8 p.m. one evening (it was still light out), all of a sudden I heard “BOOM… BOOM… BOOM!” at the outside door of my building.

Someone was obviously trying to get in. I called 911 while looking through the peep hole in my door. Just as they answered, I heard breaking glass.

“Holy smokes, they’re in!” I thought as I backed away from my door.

The 911 operator told me they were having a very busy evening and that they would stay on the line until the police arrived. So 10 minutes passed without police arriving; 20 minutes passed… still no cops. I was standing in the middle of my suite keeping an eye on both the front and back doors, ready to run if one was kicked in. The adrenaline was riding high.

Monday, Jun. 8, 2020

Photo by Doug Kretchmer
An intruder threw a brick through the front door of correspondent Doug Kretchmer’s building, then let himself in.